English musician PJ Harvey and her very big band, ten to be exact, including multiple drums and saxophones, honored Los Angeles with an anxiously awaited performance at the Greek Theater on May 12th.
Harvey, who has been playing guitar and saxophone since early childhood and whose career took off running in the the early 90’s is known for continuously shifting gears on her musical style – from trip hop, rock and punk to even blues and folk at times.
While Friday’s performance gave a playful and theatrical impression at first, enhanced by Harvey’s Peter Pan-like dress, tights and boots, topped with a feather headpiece that gave an illusion of a children’s fairytale performer, her song material begged to differ. Often making direct eye contact with the crowd and pointing at people, she used pauses in her songs to engage the audience in her mission to address the wrongdoings in the world.
Harvey, who has a reputation of exploring themes of controversy with fearless honesty and dark humor, adopted a more political songwriting approach with her previous album Let England Shake and continued to do so with this latest release The Hope Six Demolition Project. Harvey blatantly points out how we fail at our social responsibilities. Thought-provoking commentary throughout her lyrics shine light on the many ironies, transgressions and inequalities we tolerate as a capitalist nation, while loud drums and guitar riffs encourage the listener to raise their fists in union. PJ Harvey once again succeeded at getting a very important point across and left one feeling equally pensive yet empowered at the same time.